Archive for October, 2014

you learn something new every day

Was recently googling to find out the etymology of the Chinese idiom ‘马后炮‘ (ma hou pao, or ‘cannon behind horse’), when I stumbled onto this old discussion on a local forum. Someone wanted to know how to translate that Chinese idiom into English, and someone else suggested ‘Monday morning quarterback‘. I had never heard this term before, and after checking it out, I concluded it summed up the essence of ‘cannon behind horse’ perfectly! :D

you learn something new every day

Came across an article on an interesting psychological phenomenon, pareidolia, today.

another level of enlightenment

El Lobo Loco, who blogs at Singapore2b, on Singaporeans who want a slower pace of life……

They want a slower pace of growth and development, but they do not quite understand what that means. Or rather they SAY they want a slower pace, when what they actually want is contradictory or even illogical.

What do you mean by slower? Train runs every 15 minutes instead of every 2 minutes during peak hour? Then no. Banks only open from 9 am to 3 pm Mon to Fri only like in many developed countries? No. Shops open 9 am to 6 pm Mon to Fri, and 10 am to 2 pm on Sat and closed on Sun? No. Slower development? HDB flats waiting period to stretch to 6 years? NO! Or what did you mean by slower pace? Wait 30 minutes to get served in a restaurant? Walk to the McDonald’s 2 km away because you can get there in 30 minutes, and the feeder bus only comes every hour?

from here

I never saw this issue in this way before, and find that his analysis makes a lot of sense. I suppose when people say they want a slower pace of life, they usually mean themselves, not others. ;)


the grammar of a dinner

After lunch this afternoon, I returned to the office and somehow suddenly recalled this poem, by late Singaporean poet Arthur Yap. (A nice post about him can be found here.)

the grammar of a dinner

let’s have chicken for dinner.

somewhere else, someone else utters:
let’s have john for dinner.
we are alarmed by the latter
but a dinner, too, has its own grammar
& we are assured by grammarians
both utterances are in order.

john, + animate, + human,
couldn’t be passed off as repast.
chicken is + animate, – human,
& can end up in any oven.
if we combine the items of grammar
the way things in cooking are,
we would then have:
let’s have chicken for john for dinner,
let’s have chicken for dinner for john,
let’s have for john chicken for dinner,
let’s have for dinner for john chicken;
but probably not:
let’s have john for chicken for dinner,
let’s have for dinner john for chicken.

john is a noun holding knife & fork.
chicken collocates with the verb eat.
grammarians favour such words
as delicious & john eats happily,
but in a gastronomic dinner
taxonomic john isn’t to eat deliciously.

those were the days

Was at the MRT station near my house this afternoon, when I spotted a young man in a Tiffany blue tee emblazoned with these words in bold black:


last quarter

And we’re into the last quarter of the year! :O

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